Agents Take a Stand Against HBR Closures
On October 24, a sea of red shirts greeted CEO Doug Parker and other American Airlines executives at the company's quarterly State of the Airline meeting in Fort Worth.
Members of our CWA-IBT Association, including HBRs and office-based agents, spoke out against plans to close Reno Res in March 2020 and move all HBRs into offices over the next two years. Renee de la Garza, Secretary of CWA Local 6001 in Dallas, was part of the delegation in Ft. Worth. "It was important for us to be there and make our statements on behalf of our co-workers. We asked Parker to look at the employees who are being affected and see how devastating the closures will be for our lives," said Renee. Read the impact statements of workers in Dallas here.
Later in October, representatives of the CWA-IBT Association met with Doug Parker and other executives to deliver powerful statements from employees. At that meeting, a Union representative read a statement by Trish Muir, a home-based reservations agent in Tucson and Chief Steward with IBT Local 104 in Phoenix. Trish has worked for American Airlines for 24 years. According to her statement, in 2012 American closed the Tucson office, and workers there became home-based.
“And yet, we stayed. We stayed because we believe in this company, because of the ownership we feel, and the hope that one day things might be better,” wrote Trish.
Fast forward seven years. Trish described what it was like when HBRs got notice of the program’s termination earlier this year. “We get a ‘Dear John’ email from a woman we don’t know . . . , many of us while actively speaking to passengers, with no more thought given to us than to a construction update in a terminal.”
Parker responded by saying that this was a business decision for the company and that automation might mean fewer reservations representatives would be needed in the long-term.
Since the October meetings, Kerry Philipovitch has agreed to continue to discuss the impact of the HBR changes on employees with our Association. We will continue to update members as the situation develops.